Can human consciousness affect the physical world?

Perhaps one of the most intriguing and interesting phenomena in quantum physics that Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”, also known as quantum entanglement. This quantum effect is the basis of quantum computers as quantum bits (qubits) rely on entanglement to process data and information. Also, this phenomenon lies at the basis of the theory of quantum teleportation.

In a nutshell: entangled particles affect each other regardless of distance, since measuring the state of one instantly influences the state of another. However, this process remains “terrible” because — in spite of the strict obedience to the laws of quantum physics — entanglement, it seems, is tied to a deeper, but not yet open, theory. Some physicists are trying to undermine this deep theory, but have not yet found anything definite.

As for the confusion, in 1964, physicist John bell developed the famous test in order to determine whether the particles affect each other. The Belle experiment included a pair of entangled particles, one sent to the point a And another at point B. In each of these points the device is measured as particles. The measuring device was adjusted randomly, so at the time of measurement at point A could not know the side B (and Vice versa). The bell experiment was supported by a terrible theory.

And now, Lucien hardy, a theoretical physicist from the Perimeter Institute in Canada suggests that the measurements A and B can be controlled by something that potentially is separated from the material world: human consciousness. His idea stems from the fact that French philosopher and mathematician rené Descartes called the dualism of mind and matter, “in which the mind is outside of normal physics and intervenes in the physical world”, as explained by hardy.

To test their ideas hardy proposed a bell experiment involving 100 people, each of which is connected to an EEG headset that reads brain activity. These devices are used for switching settings of the measuring devices A and B, installed at a distance of 100 km from each other. “The key opportunity that we want to explore, is that when defining the settings used by the people (and not different types of random number generators), you can expect a violation of quantum theory in accordance with the bell inequality,” writes hardy in his work.

If the correlation between measurements will not match the previous bell tests, then there will be a violation of quantum theory, which assumes that A and B are controlled by factors outside the scope of standard physics. “If we see a violation of quantum theory in the system, which can be considered reasonable, human or animal, that would be incredible. Can’t imagine a more exciting outcome of the experiment in physics. The findings will be far-reaching”.

What would that mean? That the human mind (consciousness) does not consist of the same substance, which obeys the laws of physics. That is, consciousness can transcend the laws of physics due to free will. This result will allow physicists for the first time to closely approach the problem of consciousness. “It will not resolve the issue, but will provide powerful support for the question of free will,” says hardy.

Can human consciousness affect the physical world?
Ilya Hel
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